By William Markiewicz
Maximal existence = extasis -- when we participate (consuming & being consumed)
Good existence -- when we consume
After-existence -- when we are consumed
Bad existence -- when we are consumed by Time
The above is concerned with objective existence. Aristotle said that the goal of existence is happiness. As to subjective aspects, things start to be more complex. Other philosophers have said that life is too complicated to have only happiness as a goal. Well, can we compare rich feasts to the situation of the beggar who licks a half empty dish? Maybe the joy of the beggar equals the joy of the guest at the feast. Wilhelm Reich drew diagrams to prove that heterosexual orgasm is the best. There are homosexuals like the one who said, in Spanish, “Orgurioso porque gozo” “I am proud because I enjoy.” Probably we will never know exactly what is “better.” Philosophers wrote that God, who returned health and joy to Noah, never returned his youth lost in suffering. Rimbaud wrote (Tuvim’s translation in Polish) “I envied the whores their cadaverous weddings.” Gorki wrote of an old woman dancing as the old men looked on silently, in religious respect. Young people wouldn’t look. But the old remembered her youth and beauty as she danced. I read a short novel where the woman says to the man as they came to Paris, “Now you are old and I am old. What is it good for?!” The next day they were just happy. What is the mechanism – acceptance of the unavoidable? Maybe that’s too simple. I have seen a deformed young couple, maybe victims of some troublesome birth. They passed a giant mirror that was, for some reason, placed outside, and saw themselves in all their tragedy. They passed quickly but continued holding hands tightly.
Speaking about joy, happiness, a fact from nature comes to mind: We know the saga of the Salmon’s unbelievable journey over falls, over rocks, through strong currents, and stalked by bears. They had to overcome everything successfully just by virtue of their numbers. Finally, those who reach the spawning grounds – what awaits them? The females lay eggs and the males cover the eggs resting on the water bed with milk. Not a single physical contact; no another pleasure but -- ‘chemical?’ Why did they risk life for the next generation with the survivors ending in collective death? Rituals are unexplained; they are just here and we call it, because we don’t know anything else, ‘instinct.’Back to the index of the Vagabond